Melanoma

Since my marathon at the beginning of the month I have done very little running or training of any sort. Some of this is obviously because I had to rest up a bit but mostly because I had to have another lump taken out of my back following the bad news about the mole they removed.

I am not worried about the results of this one as they are pretty sure that all the bad stuff was removed the first time. This last operation is a ‘belt and braces’ approach. They took out the whole scar and some, going right down to the muscle to make doubly ensure that nothing nasty is left. As you can imagine it was not a pleasant experience and I did take it very carefully afterwards – it did feel like half of my back was taken. I did have a few times where I reminded myself that it could have been worse (chemo therapy etc) but it was still hard 😦 I am so very admiring of people who have / are dealing with the really nasty ‘proper’ cancer. I really do not know how you cope mentally.

So – on to the purpose of this post….I really wanted to share with you the information that I have that made me go and get that mole checked. So many people that I talk to do not know what to look for.

Important: I am not a medical professional and am simply passing my knowledge on to you. If you have any doubts then please speak to someone who has a bit more authority than me.

  • Get to know your moles. What is normal for you? I, for example don’t have that many and many are reddish in colour. There are some that are slightly different but I know where they are and what is normal for them (they have not changed). The one that I had removed did look different to the others and stood out – one of the reasons the consultant took it off.

As with strokes etc there are some key things that you are told to look out for:ABCDE

Asymmetry normal moles tend to be symmetrical with both halves looking the same

Border – normal moles tend to have a well defined, regular border whilst melanomas tend to have an irregular border.

Colour – Melanomas tend to be more than one colour. (I have some that are 2 colours that I have watched very closely for many years and they have never changed. In addition consultants have not been worried about but if in doubt ask).

Diameter – Moles are normally no bigger than the end of a biro or pencil (6mm)

Evolving – look for changes in moles.

In addition to this my consultant did also say that it is new moles that you should be most worried about – especially ones that do any of the above!

The ABCDE comes from a booklet on Melanoma that I was given published by McMillan Support.

It also goes on to say that see a doctor immediately if:

  • a mole itches or tingles
  • crusting or bleeding of a mole
  • any of the ABCDE signs
  • any unusual marks on the skin that lasts for more than a few weeks
  • something growing under a nail or a new dark coloured stripe along part of the nail

My Advice From my experience

  1. Know what is normal for you and get to know your moles.
  2. If in ANY doubt go and consult a doctor.
  3. Even if you have been before and they have said it is ok but you are unhappy, do not be afraid to back to the doctor. Had I gone back within the 6 months I was told to he may well have said that everything was all right as it may well have been then. This would have left me feeling that it was ok but things do change. As it was I left it until a change had happened. Doctors would rather you checked than you leave things unchecked. If you do not treat melanoma EARLY it can get very nasty! Never feel bad about consulting your doctor. It may save your life – literally.

I know that I am being quite harsh but I truly feel very lucky. Had I left it for a couple of years this whole story could be VERY different. I just want to help others catch things early.

Thank you for reading. I really hope that it is useful to someone. My stitches are out this week so I should be able to run again and get back to the normal posts.

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27 thoughts on “Melanoma

  1. daniellajoe

    Very interesting post, and I am very happy you are doing well and you are a fighter, I think you will do well, take it easy for a little so you can heal faster, hugs!!

    Reply
  2. Gertie

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had to have another mole removed. I’m keeping everything crossed that the result will be good news.

    As a person who has lots of moles (both flat and raised) I too have to be vigilant with the checking of them. I had two removed in the late 80’s so I know how uncomfortable the stitches can be. I got rid of them as they were catching on my clothing. The hospital tested them anyway and they were fine.

    I read last week that we had a higher rate of skin cancer than Australia so hopefully your post will spread the word about what to look for xx

    Reply
      1. Gertie

        That’s because Australian’s aren’t sun worshipers like us Brits and they don’t use sunbeds. Plus when they do have to go out in the sun they use lots of sun block xx

        Reply
  3. chrisknits

    My father and brother have both had melanomas, so our family is always on alert. My daughter had a Nevus Sebaceous removed and we will have to continue to watch that spot on her head for future recurrence. Glad that you caught yours and praying that they did get it all.

    Reply
  4. Cat

    Healing thoughts!
    I have to go to the doctor’s regularly due to my medication, so I always get the moles checked, too.
    That’s important information you shared. Hopefully people will begin to take this more seriously!

    Reply
  5. macstabby

    Crossing my fingers for good news for you! And yes, as a (newly minted) doctor, I can say that we definitely want people to come in- better safe than sorry! I’m all about prevention and early detection.

    Reply
  6. Hannah

    Great post hun, thanks for sharing this information, I am sure it will help many people. Sorry you have had to have another op, hope its all over for you now xx

    Reply
  7. Jodiebodie

    What a nasty experience for you but so thoughtful of you to share your knowledge to save others. I knew some of the signs to watch out for, but not all of the ones you listed. You explained it very well and gave new information. Thank you for taking the time and energy to blog about this at a time when you are needing rest and tlc. Take it easy. May you have a speedy recovery.

    Reply
  8. mlissabeth

    I am a twenty-one year survivor of melanoma. At the time of my initial surgery, many people I told had the belief it was not a “proper” cancer, because you cannot die from the other two types of skin cancer. But Melanoma is just as much a struggle as other cancers are, depending on the classification, etc. I am a survivor, but there are those that are not. Two people that I personally know of in the last two years.

    Your information is so important. Thank you for sharing it. I am glad you continue to be vigilant.

    Reply
  9. raphaele42

    This is very important information and it seems people tend not to take this seriously, so thanks for sharing. I had a mole removed under my feet a couple of years ago so I can sympathise with what you feel on your back. I also have a lot of moles and I keep an eye on them.

    Reply
  10. claireabellemakes

    I have been thinking of you lots. Skin cancer is unfortunately in my family (both my Grandfather and Dad have had it). Very grateful for the information you have shared. Both G and I have a lot of moles and it is important to check them regularly as you say. This post is a great reminder.

    Big hugs x

    Reply

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